The Serbian government has adopted a decision to begin the process of privatising state-backed telco, Telekom Srbija, and has instructed the Ministry of Economy and the Privatisation Agency to implement the decision. Belgrade, which holds a 58.11% stake in the telco, has long sought to privatise Telekom Srbija but has hit a number of stumbling blocks, including limited interest, disputes over its value and domestic opposition. An attempt to offload the telco fell through in 2011 when two successive bids offered by Telekom Austria fell short of the government’s minimum asking price, and subsequent progress has been limited, with the government warning that another unsuccessful sale could have ‘devastating economic consequences.’ According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Telekom Austria and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have both expressed an interest in acquiring a stake in the company in recent months, with the latter offering a range of options, including funding loans to Telekom, becoming a co-investor with other strategic investors and buying shares or financing a third party to purchase shares.
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